CoverSix Training Academy is suing the Town of Church Point for $9 million dollars in damages after the town shut down the company’s training facility.
In 2013, CoverSix Training Academy was courting several cities to build their active shooter training facility.
CEO and Founder Joey Comeaux chose a 75,000 square foot un-used facility in his hometown of Church Point.
“It had been abandoned for almost twenty years, the old ‘Fruit of the Loom,’ Garan Building. So, because this is our hometown and we wanted to be here, and generate a lot of tax money here, and generate a lot of revenue. The economic impact on the city alone would be huge, so we decided to go ahead and pick this location. During that time, the council approved and voted, and we signed the lease,” said Comeaux.
Following the lease agreement, Comeaux says he spent tens of thousands of dollars transforming the building.
Then, shortly after the Grande Theatre shooting, Comeaux says CoverSix conducted it’s first two-day active training drill in the facility with personnel from Lafayette General Hospital. A few days after the training Comeaux received a notice from Church Point police saying he was breaking the law.
“After the class, we actually got a stop work order placed on our door. About a week later we got a ticket in the mail saying we did not have an occupational license. We were actually charged with a felony citation for not having an occupational license, which we have two. Our lawyer has both copies. City hall has both copies. The court has them,” said Comeaux.
However, the city’s attorney says the occupational license was null and void because the original lease agreement granted by the former city administration was invalid.
“The mayor, then brand-new mayor Stelly, was presented with a management letter from the town’s auditor on January 15, 2016, telling him that this lease was not legal. So, the mayor did what he was required to do, and he sought to have a court determine whether that lease was legal. We have a final judgment of October of 2016 declaring this lease invalid,” explained attorney Michael Hebert.
“A lease for a dollar of a public facility is not legal. That’s the bottom line. And, the court found that. That’s consistent with all the law of Louisiana for years and years, and there’s no dispute about that.”
Comeaux says it all boils down to a political power-play. He says his original lease agreement should stand.
A court date is set for October 15, 2018.